Out with the old…in with moderation.

Happy New Years Eve! Can you believe it’s nearly 2010? Although I’m spending half of today at work and drugged up on DayQuil, I will not let my minor cold get in the way of my party plans tonight and my bigger plans for the New Year.

If you recall, my resolution is to make and accomplish a new years resolution everyday of the new year.  And so far, so good! I have 2 pages of notebook paper (back and front) filled with ideas and things to keep my resolution on track.

But I’m not the only person out there with a resolution for the new year. (That’s for sure!) I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this conversation this week:

PERSON A: “I’m going to lose weight this year,” PERSON B “you said that last year, and hunny, you look the same!” A “Well that was different, I had ____ going on and _ and __ stopped me, this year is different!” B “what’s your game plan? how are you going to lose it?” A “By doing diet XYZ, and not eating _ and _!”

Just in that brief convo I can already see how person A’s resolution is not going to stick, and just like last year, they will find themself in the same predicament come December 31, 2010. Here’s why: Person A’s first response to person B was full of excuses and blamed everything on outside sources. You are 100 percent accountable for what you put in and what you do with your body. The first thing we need to do is take responsibility for how we treat our bodies. You can’t keep blaming your weight gain on a recent break up or fight with your mother, it’s ultimately you who decides how you react and handle these situations. [And eating 6 big macs is neither healthy or productive].

Reason #2 it won’t work: Person A’s weight loss solution is to follow a strict diet and completely cut certain foods out of their regime. This brings me to the main topic of my post today; moderation. No diet will ever be successful if you deprive yourself from any sort of food. Completely cutting chocolate cake from your diet may seem like a sure-fire way to lose weight, but really all you’re doing is setting yourself up for a total bingefest when you have a bad day, go through a break up, or fall prey to a temporary lapse in judgement. It happens to all of us, so why not plan, in your weight loss goals, for that day? You are never going to read ANYTHING that says one piece of chocolate cake a month is going to kill your weight loss strategies. You need to be realistic about your diet and become best friends with the idea of moderation.

What is moderation? Moderation is the process of eliminating or lessening extremes. It is used to ensure normality throughout the medium on which it is being conducted. As adults, we have the ability to consciously make decisions and know the differences between right and wrong.  Although the second photo looks like more fun, shoving your face into a cake and eating the entire thing is something we have to let go once we turn 5. But don’t worry. As adults, we can still have our cake and eat it too, just not as much cake as before 🙂

Instead of saying you can’t have something, why not say “I can have that cookie, but I’m only going to have one, so I can get the taste for it and satisfy my craving.” Who doesn’t like a diet with some wiggle room? We aren’t perfect, people. We need some chocolate, ice-cream or a slice of pizza every now and then. So instead of deprivation (which is really not a fun way to live), indulge and enjoy one piece, one scoop or one slice. It’s not going to kill you. Just remember, one of the keys to moderation is recognizing and honoring the body’s hunger and fullness cues.

Another important key to remember about moderation (that goes quite well with the cake example) is to follow moderate portion sizes. In today’s super-sized, extra-large society, portion control has quadrupled, giving people a misconception on what the healthy portion sizes are for foods. You might get shocked to see how much we SHOULD be eating versus how much we ACTUALLY do eat.

Pretty shocking!

What’s even more shocking though is seeing the calorie differences in what we should eat versus what we do. 250 calories can go a long way! (If you want to lose 1 pound a week, you need a 500 calorie deficit. So by drinking the recommended size soda and the regular hamburger, you’ve already saved nearly 500 calories!) Seeing the scale a pound lighter sure beats any supersized big mac any day.

Make your news years resolution stick by choosing to eat and live in moderation. You’ll be surprised at how much easier losing weight will be and how much more fun life will turn out!

For more information on portion sizes, visit http://www.mealsmatter.org/EatingForHealth/Topics/Healthy-Living-Articles/Portion-Sizes.aspx

~ by therealnutritionist on December 31, 2009.

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